Thursday, July 15, 2010

Thoughts on a Thursday

When I was in the fourth grade, during quiet reading time, a disruptive boy started acting up.

The teacher warned him not to speak loudly again, as he was making too much noise. She said: "If you talk once more after I have repeatedly told you not to, not only will you be punished for 5 minutes after class, the entire class will be punished along with you. Everyone will have to remain in their seats for an extra 5 minutes, quietly."

Of course all eyes were on this young boy, who, of course being a young boy, challenged his teacher and laughed.

And of course, this teacher meant business. We were all punished. Out of the 20 children in our classroom only 1 child had caused an issue, but the result was we were all going to have to pay for it. They were repercussions to his actions.

It was unfair. But then again, so is life.

I remember what I was wearing on September 11, 2001, when I got the phone call from my mother telling me a plane had crashed into the World Trade Centre.

Visions of me enjoying a glass of red wine at Windows of the World flashed in my mind, as I was in NYC just a few months before, enjoying the breathtaking view from the very top of the World Trade Centre. My reaction quickly turned to one of fear and mass confusion.

At work, we turned on the boardroom television set to CNN, just after the second plane crashed into the WTC. More panic ensued for me, as I thought of my extended family in Washington, D.C., and a family member who was in the Middle East on business.

Speechless. Numb. Scared. Sad. Disbelief. "Why? How could this have happened? Who could be so evil?" were asked by us all that day. What occurred on September 11th is not something any of us will get over.

There are so many horrible things in our history books, with 9/11 being one of the recent additions to pages upon pages of events that never should have happened, the biggest, in my opinion, being the Holocaust. Events that will always be etched in our minds as things that never should have happened in a society where good is supposed to trump evil.

Thousands of innocent people lost their that September day. An entire city - a strong, proud, historic city - was... panicked, to say the least. That day, hundreds of parents lost their children. That day, many brave and heroic fire fighters and emergency workers risked their lives to save others, losing their own lives while doing so.

9/11 should never be forgotten. I think that when discussions about whether to build something that is stirring up some controversy near the sacred grounds of WTC, a lot of thought should go into it.

More so, when an issue like this is causing so many people to have such mixed feelings, I believe there is only one place we should go to for the final decision. To the families of the victims of 9/11. They should decide. They should be given the choice.

They didn’t have a choice when their loved ones were so brutally taken away from them. I think at least now, we should show them a little respect. Communicate with them, and consider their opinions first.

I respect all religions, and I am a very open-minded person. There is no perfect religion. I will also say, as a Greek Orthodox, if people of my faith had done something so horrific, I’d feel the very same way about the issue at hand. (Or any other religion, for that matter.) And that is the honest truth. If it were me, I would avoid confrontation at all cost.

In life, sometimes even if one person makes a mistake, there will be repercussions for everyone. Life is unfair to so many people, for so many reasons. And sometimes, decisions have to be made that not everyone will agree with. Regardless of how you feel about the issue at hand, it is important to remember to respect and allow people to have their own opinion.

What are your thoughts?

15 comments:

Pres. Kathy said...

This is a hard one. I remember exactly where I was on the day. The tears were just coming down. I remember going to church and people crying, hugging each other, and praying together. Why do these evil things happen?? Well, I agree that it is such a tricky thing to see if something should be built on that ground. There was a Greek Orthodox Church right next to the World Trade Center that got destroyed too. This was a place where people of many faiths would go in and find peace during their work day. This church ground is also up in the air. They don't know what will happen to it. The Archbishop and Patriarch visited this area and they got the chance to save some holy items. Shouldn't this church be built again since it was so important to many people? I don't know. I say let God's Will be done!

amotherworld said...

Personally, I don't believe anything should've been built there. I know that is obviously unrealistic and not the case, but it is a sacred place where many innocent lives were lost. It is a burial ground and should be left that way.

But buildings are going up. So if anything, a beautiful park to go along with the Memorial Museum would be nice.

Marinka said...

This is a tough one for me as well. On the one hand, I believe that Islam is a religion of peace, that what happened on September 11th and continues to happen are acts of extremists. So I understand why it's important to build a mosque near the site, to honor it. On the other hand, I feel like it's not the right message. Why does it have to be so close? Why, when it is so polarizing. I totally agree with your deference to the families whose loved ones were murdered on that day.

I don't know what the answer is.

Leslie said...

I visited NYC for the first time in September of 2009, 8 years after the WTC attack. It was so emotional seeing Ground Zero, and walking through the church across the street, seeing artifacts and pictures. It was my 2nd week of college, away from home, and we were 15 minutes from the Trenton Military airport. To hear the army flying over us in Belleville was scary and comforting at the same time. I'll never forget the look on Ryan's face, the fear in my heart, the call to my parents, and the cry of friends who's parents were in NYC for work. I do believe they are building, or at least they had some beams up when we were there in September, and I think it's a step in the right direction to show the world that you may be able to tear the world apart, but the strong hearts will rebuild it once again.

Julia W. said...

Obama said, in his inaugural address, to leaders who look to incite conflict & hate, "know that your people will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy."

I think the same applies here.

I think the idea is positive and hopeful in many ways, however do think the space could be more constructively utilized, to promote peace and inter-faith understanding and tolerance.

That said, I think opposition based on holding the entire Islam faith responsible for 9/11 is frankly ignorant.

angie said...

I absolutely agree with you. "In life, sometimes even if one person makes a mistake, there will be repercussions for everyone". We do need to respect others and think of more than ourselves when me make choices.

Jill said...

This is a topic that is VERY near to me ... for my husband is off to Iraq on Sunday for a year to help "Win the war on terror" or so the USG would like everyone to think.

We lived in NJ when 9/11 happened. My husband was at work downtown ... 3 blocks from the WTC and for a month afterwards (including that day) worked around the clock with the search and recovery efforts. We're both scarred by the events from that day - my husband especially as he saw everything up close and personal.

We lived in a Muslim country for 2 years from 2003 - 2005. Amazing what living there does to your perspective... especially when you're Jewish and living in a Muslim country.

Like Marinka I have no idea what's best... but I know that everytime I read a story or hear about the WTC my mind immediately brings me right back to where I was when I first heard the news.

cornflakegirl74 said...

This is also a subject that touches close to home. I had several friends who worked in the area (thankfully all made it out okay) and a neighbor who worked as a firefighter, and sadly, left a wife and son behind. I also work in the city now and have for years; so thoughts of another terrorist attack are always in the back of my head.

That being said, I don't know what the right answer is. NYC is a wonderful place, and I think the sense of community that came from 9/11 is just one example of the strong emotional attachment we feel towards this great city. My cousin is an architect working on the freedom tower. I want NYC to rebuild, but I also respect the families of those who lost and can understand if they'd prefer the grounds to remain untouched. I just don't think there's an answer.

Kristina said...

This subject ALWAYS brings up huge emotion for me. The city I Love So Much will never be the same, nor will my sweet best friend who lived very close to WTC, is a nurse and worked endlessly in the search and recovery.

She is changed by all she saw, by the lack of trust in humankind, by What She Saw and dealt with.

My best friend whom I love so much will never be the same, and I have lost her as well.

While I generally equate Muslim = peace, very many people do not, especially after this tragedy. In that light, it is not right. The message will get confused.

There are many living victims that are very raw, still very impacted by what happened on that tragic day. This would not help, and could very much hurt.

CaraBee said...

I'm with Marinka. Her words express pretty much exactly how I am feeling.

Muthering Heights said...

What are they building? I'm going to click over to find out...

karen said...

It is not being built on the site, so I don't see why it's an issue. How far away from ground zero does it have to be to be acceptable? This is not unlike segragation. I think that making it an issue shows that many people are infact unwilling to wholly accept other cultures and is laying blame on an entire religion. What happened on 9/11 is more dreadful than words can ever express, but shunning an entire religion because of it? That's not right either.

Krystyn said...

I'm with you. Ask the victim's families...I don't think it should be up to anybody else.

Anonymous said...

Please keep in mind that it is NOT a mosque that is being built. It is an Islamic center - includes an art gallery, restaurants, prayer hall and theatre/assembly area. Secondly, it is NOT on the ground zero website. It is 2 blocks away. How many blocks away should it be before we feel that it's reasonably "far" away enough?

Ash

Daly Beauty said...

Wow. It sure sounds like people are equating being a MUSLIM with being a TERRORIST. To me that is what is sad and frightening.

To the many misinformed people out there- no one is building a mosque ON Ground Zero. It's several blocks away. Trying to stop it from being built is simply ignorant and racist.

Blog Designed by: NW Designs